FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 3, 2020
BARGAINING TO CONTINUE: CAREGIVERS MAINTAIN COMMITMENT TO PATIENT SAFETY
SEATTLE—After exploratory conversations overnight, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW has postponed its strike notice and agreed to expedited bargaining after Swedish-Providence management made commitments to make progress in bargaining by resolving patient safety and recruitment and retention concerns.
Providence Health Services has withdrawn proposals that would reduce paid time off and medical benefits and allow subcontracting. The unions have postponed their strike timelines, with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW expecting an imminent return to the bargaining table for marathon negotiating sessions.
Since bargaining began in April at Swedish-Providence, nurses and caregivers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW have made clear their patient safety concerns. Caregivers have made contract proposals that would increase staffing to safer levels to improve the quality of care; recruit and retain staff to close the 900-caregiver gap at Swedish; address the grave workload and safety concerns of healthcare workers at the front line of infection control; and create a strong culture of equity and inclusion for both employees and patients. Good-faith efforts to address these concerns through bargaining will be essential to the caregivers accepting future contract proposals.
At the press conference scheduled for 7:45 am today at Boylston Place Park in Seattle, healthcare workers from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW will share their concerns about patient safety at Swedish-Providence. Caregivers will be joined by representatives of public safety unions to highlight the impact of these concerns on overall public safety and health.
UFCW 21 and the Washington State Nurses Association have made similar progress in overnight talks and have paused their strike notices. All three unions have committed to ongoing negotiations in the coming days.
About SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 30,000 caregivers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs in Washington state and Montana. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all.